Running as nature intended: Barefoot running as enskillment and a way of becoming

  • Blaž Bajič University of Ljubljana
Keywords: barefoot running, body techniques, environment, popular culture, anthropology of sport


In recent years, recreational running has been growing in popularity in Slovenia, and it appears that the trend will continue unabated. Simultaneously, practices of running and the meanings that people ascribe to them have also been diversifying. One such faction has evolved around and through running barefoot. Adherents of this particular way of running reject conventional running shoes as being potentially harmful to the human body and as an obstacle to an authentic way of running and perceiving the environment. Defined by its practitioners as the most natural mode of running, it necessitates a gradual accustoming to a barefoot running technique and the gradual development of feet to be able to withstand the demands of such running. Moreover, it requires novices to learn to perceive and to react to the contours of the ground in a specific manner. This learning takes place with the help of more experienced practitioners and with the help of exemplars embodied in some non-Modern peoples.